Did the world need some sort of 32-bit sequel to Teenage Mutant Hero – sorry, Ninja – Turtles in Time some 30 years later? The short answer is: did Streets of Rage need one? You have to ask yourself the long answer: Is your gaming claim a short “Boomer Blast from the Past” or has something changed over the decades? Is beer and joy on the couch enough for a quick half hour of colorful beating action? Questions that only you can answer yourself.
After the first two levels, my answer would be: I enjoyed this excursion into my own youth. Seeing bebop and rocksteady again, the dopey footclan ninjas, April !(I think in this Turtles game, a brainchild of the depraved late 80’s, a soft catcall from distant puberty is allowed) and of course the turtles themselves. That was a blast for the ten minutes it took. Nostalgia was caressed, from the lovingly captured animations, to the distant past of a grimy graffiti New York that didn’t even know the word gentrification even existed.
Playfully, everything has been done here to make it feel like it used to be, but not like it used to be. Because even the best games of this era were caught in animation phases that slowed down smooth gaming. A few moves were missing to make it really round. Not that we had any idea at the time, nothing else was known. But DotEmu and Tribute Games show how it can be done just a little bit better. Might be due to the fact that Shredder’s Revenge was made by people who love the old games but don’t adore them and see what can be done just a little bit better. A kick back here, a few frames less there. Gently caressed the past and you don’t have to squint to describe it as solid gaming fun.
This also applies to the loving pixel look, which wonderfully captures the charm without offending the pixel art spoiled eye of modern times. It fits perfectly and is also much more varied than it was then. The two short levels – at best a quarter of an hour together – change the scenery a little, change direction a few more times, so the biggest shortcoming is hardly noticeable: the variety of opponents. A dumb footclan of a different color is still a dumb footclan. Even if he brings a few other weapons with him. Well, at least there were a few Mousers to be seen and, like everything else, they were lovingly animated. So good that my ancient gamer heart got really warm.
In the end, that’s what it’s all about. Some people just want to bash their way through some goofy ninja robots, hear the original speakers yell “cowabunga” from their Way to School Turtles Discussion days, and have a good time while doing it. Box Sterni next to the Super Nintendo, sorry, the PS5, and be a kid again. Sure, why not, when it’s executed as perfectly as it is here, it’s a pleasure to do this digital form of scrolling back in the timeline before there was a timeline. I can’t deny And for the few bucks Turtles: Shredders Revenge will cost, you can put up with that. You can rip off us gamer boomers even worse: A new edition of the Captain Future spaceship costs a proud 170 euros as a faithful replica of the then cheaply produced 25 centimeter tiny sand box glider. Even Limited Run, who are probably already working on a Turtles Ultra Limited box, are ashamed of that.
So yeah, I really enjoyed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. Just as I’m about to have fun spinning the Slippery When Wet Remaster and opening a Pepsi Crystal re-release clad in a fresh Aerosmith shirt. Some things don’t get better with age. But they still make you happy.